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Poor People Also Deserve To Use Lagos Beaches


Lagos is blessed with an extensive coastline, offering picturesque beaches that should ideally be accessible to all.

However, in reality, the beaches closest to the city centers have been heavily commercialized, leaving little room for those who cannot afford the steep prices.

Popular beaches such as Elegushi Beach, Tarkwa Bay, Oniru Beach, and Landmark Beach now cater primarily to the wealthy and the well-off, with entrance fees and the cost of amenities placing them beyond the reach of many Lagosians.

A visit to these commercialized beaches often comes with an entrance fee ranging from ₦1,000 to ₦5,000.

Once inside, patrons face further expenses for drinks, food, and recreational activities.

A simple bottle of water can cost as much as ₦500, while more substantial refreshments and meals are priced at premium levels.

The cost of engaging in recreational activities, such as quad biking or jet skiing, can run into tens of thousands of naira.

For many Lagosians, especially those from lower-income backgrounds, these prices are prohibitive, effectively barring them from enjoying the city’s natural coastal beauty.

This was not always the case.

In the 1970s, 80s, and even the 90s, Bar Beach on Victoria Island (current Lagos Atlantic City) was a popular spot where both the rich and the poor could mingle freely.

There was no entrance fee, and families could enjoy the beach without financial strain.

Parents could afford to give their children memorable experiences, like horse rides, for a nominal fee.

Bar Beach was a great equalizer, a place where economic status did not dictate one’s ability to enjoy nature’s offerings.

Parents could afford to give their children memorable experiences, such as horse rides, for a nominal fee.

These small yet significant pleasures created lasting memories for many Lagosians.

For a minimal cost, children could experience the thrill of riding a horse along the shoreline, a luxury that would be unimaginable for many families today given the high prices at commercial beaches.

The beach was not just a place of leisure; it was an educational and enriching environment where children learned about nature and socialized with peers from diverse backgrounds.

Bar Beach stood out as a democratic space. It provided an opportunity for the less privileged to enjoy the same scenic beauty and recreational activities as the affluent.

. Beaches, like air and sunshine, are part of the commons – they belong to everyone. The enjoyment of God’s freely given beauties should not be the preserve of the rich or well-to-do.

South Africa has numerous free beaches that cater to the public without financial barriers.

Cape Town, for example, boasts several beautiful beaches such as Muizenberg Beach and Boulders Beach.

These beaches are open to the public, with minimal or no entrance fees, ensuring that both locals and tourists can enjoy the scenic coastline.

Durban’s Golden Mile is another example, where miles of beaches are freely accessible, providing recreational space for all socioeconomic groups.

In Spain, many beaches, including those along the Costa del Sol, are free to access.

The city of Barcelona is renowned for its public beaches, such as Barceloneta Beach, where locals and visitors alike can enjoy the Mediterranean Sea without any entry cost.

Similarly, in France, the beaches along the French Riviera, such as Nice’s Promenade des Anglais, are largely free and open to the public, ensuring broad access to these beautiful coastal areas.

In the United States, public access to beaches is often protected by law. California, for instance, has a strong tradition of public beach access. Iconic beaches like Santa Monica Beach and Venice Beach are open to all, with free entry allowing everyone to enjoy the Pacific Ocean.

Florida’s South Beach in Miami is another prime example where the public can enjoy the beach without having to pay an entrance fee. These beaches serve as vibrant community spaces where people from diverse backgrounds can gather.

In Asia, countries like Thailand and India offer many free public beaches. Thailand’s Patong Beach in Phuket and Pattaya Beach are popular destinations that do not charge an entry fee, making them accessible to all.

In India, the beaches of Goa, such as Baga Beach and Anjuna Beach, are open to the public without any entrance costs. These beaches are cherished by both locals and tourists for their beauty and accessibility.

What these examples show is that access to recreational spaces is crucial for the well-being of all citizens.

The poor, or those unwilling to pay exorbitant fees, deserve places where they can relax and unwind.

The Lagos State Government has to revisit this issue.

The government, along with community organizations, should work to ensure that at least some beaches remain free and open to the public.

This could involve designating certain areas as public beaches, where commercial activities are regulated to keep prices affordable.

Such measures would help restore the balance, ensuring that all Lagosians, regardless of their economic status, can enjoy the natural beauty of their coastline.

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